2020, Apple reminds us on its iPhone landing page, is a leap year. And the California tech giant has set out to mark it with a leap forward in its iconic smartphone range.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s now-annual iPhone launch event was an all-virtual affair, minus the crowds of tech journalists and industry figures that usually flock to Apple Park on such occasions.
But the futuristic feel was fitting for what the California giant had to share with the legions of digital onlookers connecting from all over the globe. Four new models, 5G as standard, Apple’s fastest ever processor, a slick new design, even a military-developed 3D laser scanner – some leap in a single year of iPhone evolution.
Features – Large & Mini
Running through the models, the cornerstone iPhone 12 features the same size edge-to-edge 6.1-inch screen as the iPhone 11, only this time it’s a 460ppi OLED display compared to 326ppi LCD, meaning sharper pictures and graphics. Apple has also dubbed this front display a ‘ceramic shield’, claiming the new version is four times less likely to crack than typical smartphone glass.
While the display is the same size, overall the iPhone 12 is lighter and more compact than previous models – 15% smaller and 16% lighter, in fact. But for those who really like their smartphones to come in small packages, the iPhone 12 Mini features a 5.4-inch display. At £699 before trade-in, it is also one of the cheapest premium 5G-ready phones yet to land.
Essentially little-and-large versions of the same phone, The iPhone 12 and 12 Mini both show off a new flat-sided design, featuring what Apple calls ‘aerospace-grade aluminium edges’. Night vision mode on cameras comes as standard.
Starting at £999 ($1299), the iPhone 12 Pro is the same size and shape as the iPhone 12, is equally 5G-ready and packs the same A14 Bionic chip which Apple claims is the fastest yet fitted into a smartphone. Most of the extra value, apart from a sturdier stainless steel construction, seems to be invested in camera upgrades, including the aforementioned LIDAR laser scanner.
What on earth is Lidar?
Best described as like RADAR but with laser beams, LIDAR was developed by the military for 3D mapping purposes. Packed into a smartphone, it is rumoured to revolutionise depth rendering from small lens digital cameras as well as improve low light autofocus. But perhaps the most intriguing application is that LIDAR supposedly makes the placement of digital objects into a field of vision using AR much more realistic – one for the Pokemon Go fans to watch out for
Completing the line up, the iPhone 12 Pro Max features a beefy 6.7-inch display and an impressive 5x optical zoom rear camera.